Revealed: the UK's worst roads, costing a fortune in repairs

Large deep pothole an example of poor road maintance due to reducing local council repair budgets
Large deep pothole an example of poor road maintance due to reducing local council repair budgets

Potholes are the bane of any driver's life, and with an average of one pothole for every 110 metres of road in the UK, it's no wonder that they attract irritation and anger in equal measure. A new study has tracked down the roads where potholes are driving us mad, and has named the most hated road in Britain as Cottage Lane in Ormskirk, Lancashire. In the past 12 months it has attracted 271 complaints from motorists who are sick of the damage caused by potholes on the road.

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It was identified by Car Parts 4 Less, which used a number of freedom of information requests to find the roads that attracted the most complaints about potholes.

Top 10
Cottage Lane, Ormskirk
Liverpool Road (A57), Salford
Chester Road, Poynton
Topsham Road, Exeter
Bingley Relief Road (A650), Bradford
Dunstable Road, Luton
Dividy Road, Stoke-on-Trent
Hills Road, Cambridge
Stratford Road, Solihull
Garrett Lane, Wandsworth

The terrible tarmac was concentrated in the North-West of England, where a combination of council cutbacks, heavy traffic, wet weather, and cold nights, come together to form a perfect storm for potholes.


The holes are created when roads are not resurfaced frequently enough, so heavy traffic causes the top layer of tarmac to crack. This allows water to seep in through the cracks and sit just below the surface of the road. On cold nights this will freeze and expand, pushing out some of the road surface, which is then washed away, eventually leaving a hole.

As councils have cut back their spending in all areas, more and more roads are being neglected, so potholes are becoming an increasing problem for drivers. The Asphalt Industry Alliance reported a threefold increase in the number of potholes in 2013 alone.

They cost UK drivers almost £684 million in car repairs annually, with one pothole compensation claim made every 17 minutes. This is expensive for the government - which paid out almost £2.3 million in compensation to drivers whose cars were damaged by potholes in the past year alone.

What can you do?

The government has pledged extra cash for filling potholes, and set up a £250 million Pothole Action Fund back in April to improve local roads. In December, awards were made to councils, so some of the worst roads may be resurfaced. Cottage Lane, for example, was recently resurfaced, which will have come as a major relief to the locals.

Unfortunately, potholes are likely to remain part of the driving experience in the UK for the foreseeable future. Cycling UK described the fund as: "the equivalent of using a sticking plaster to fix a broken leg" and pointed out that the Asphalt Industry Alliance estimates we need £12 billion to fix the pothole problem.

It's therefore worth knowing that if your car is damaged by a pothole, you can claim compensation. You will need to take a photo of the pothole and report it to your local council. Then get your car repaired, and write to the council enclosing all the paperwork. As long as the pothole has already been reported by someone else (and therefore the council knew there was a problem), you should have the repair paid for.